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Blocking LC3 lipidation and ATG12 conjugation reactions by ATG7 mutant protein containing C572S

Nitta, Akari, Hori, Kazuya, Tanida, Isei, Igarashi, Ayumi, Deyama, Yasuyo, Ueno, Takashi, Kominami, Eiki, Sugai, Manabu, Aoki, Koji
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.2 pp. 521-526
autophagy, cysteine, homeostasis, human diseases, humans, mutants, phosphatidylethanolamines, serine, thioesters, tissues, ubiquitin
Autophagy, a system for the bulk degradation of intracellular components, is essential for homeostasis and the healthy physiology and development of cells and tissues. Its deregulation is associated with human disease. Thus, methods to modulate autophagic activity are critical for analysis of its role in mammalian cells and tissues. Here we report a method to inhibit autophagy using a mutant variant of the protein ATG7, a ubiquitin E1-like enzyme essential for autophagosome formation. During autophagy, ATG7 activates the conjugation of LC3 (ATG8) with phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and ATG12 with ATG5. Human ATG7 interactions with LC3 or ATG12 require a thioester bond involving the ATG7 cysteine residue at position 572. We generated TetOff cells expressing mutant ATG7 protein carrying a serine substitution of this critical cysteine residue (ATG7C572S). Because ATG7C572S forms stable intermediate complexes with LC3 or ATG12, its expression resulted in a strong blockage of the ATG-conjugation system and suppression of autophagosome formation. Consequently, ATG7C572S mutant protein can be used as an inhibitor of autophagy.